What Marketers Can Learn From Agile Software Developers

A recent article by Heinz Marketing titled “What software developers can teach you about marketing” suggests ways that agile software development techniques can help marketersagile marketing become more effective. As an agile software developer, I read the article with some interest and I think it’s great – just not complete. It misses an aspect of agile development that, to be perfectly honest, some software developers miss as well.

Rapid, flexible and iterative software development can result in great software, or it can result in unstable and unreliable software – full of kludges and patches and fixes. The difference? Good agile developers know that before you start your iterative development process, you first have to define an architecture – the framework within which you’ll be iterating.

How do you architect a marketing organization to prepare it for agile marketing?

To start answering this question, consider two of the principles described in the Heinz Marketing article:

  • Place testing and data over opinions
  • Perform numerous small marketing experiments with rapid iteration

What kind of architecture do you need to support these principles?

  1. You must have good data. In agile development we have a saying – if you iterate over garbage you get highly refined garbage. A data driven marketing organization can’t work without accurate data.
  2. You need agile reporting. You can’t be agile if it takes you weeks or months to obtain the results of your marketing campaigns.

For Salesforce CRM customers, the Full Circle Insights Marketing Performance Management application can form the foundation for building a truly agile marketing organization.

First, there’s nothing like it for capturing accurate data – from capturing complete response history to enforcement models to ensure that sales operations captures marketing data, you’ll get the data needed to make agile marketing work.

Second, you can’t do agile marketing if you can’t get the data you need quickly. Spending hours exporting data and manipulating Excel spreadsheets doesn’t cut it. And you can’t just use a reporting tool that produces pretty graphics – pretty graphics are useless if you’re at the whim of the vendor to create the chart that you need. Being able to obtain the reports you need using Salesforce reporting that you can customize is essential. Our Marketing Performance Management application allows you access to all of our underlying data objects and fields – all of which are stored natively in Salesforce –  making it easy to create reports specific to your needs.

Of course, it’s not surprising that our application is designed for agile marketing. It was, after all, developed by marketers and agile software developers working together – and learning from each other.

Dan Appleman

About Dan Appleman

As Full Circle Insights’ CTO, Dan Appleman brings a broad technology experience to our customers. In addition to having supported over 30 Salesforce.com implementations with technology solutions, Dan is also the author of the book "Advanced Apex Programming for Salesforce.com and Force.com" and has been a speaker at Dreamforce since 2012. Previously, he was the founder of Desaware, Inc. a developer of add-on products for Microsoft Visual Studio, a co-founder of Apress publishing, and the author of numerous books and articles.